Haiku My Heart
February 24, 2012
Each week, on Friday, we gather to write Haiku straight from the heart. We share with each other both the haiku and the spirit of friendship as we visit each writer's blog home. Join us by visiting recuerda mi corazon.
Stacks of wooden bones
Death of a community
Change of direction
These are the skeletal remains of the once vibrant ore docks at Ashland, Wisconsin. Prior to 1965, these docks saw Great Lakes shipping traffic into and out of the Ashland port at the Southern tip of Chequamegon Bay. When the steel industry died in the mid 1960’s, this dock ceased to be used and has stood rusting and decaying since that last 1965 shipment.
|The ore dock at Ashland, WI|
When I moved to Ashland in 2005, the dock was under scrutiny and this hasn’t changed much since then. Whether to tear it down or preserve it for historical value is always under consideration, but what really stops the conversation are the costs involved with keeping it or demolition. Either costs millions of taxpayer dollars in a geographic area that hasn’t seen prosperity for a long time, not just from the current economic downturn in the USA.
I was in Ashland recently and took these photos. I am always amazed at the remains mankind leaves behind. Along with the ore dock was the lumber industry and their remains can be seen in numerous places along the magnificent lakeshore as well in the form of log ends sticking out of the water like someone's beard stubble.
|Remnants of the docks from a once vibrant working community along Lake Superior's shores in Ashland|
Now, some corporation wants to tear off the top of the Penokee Range, a long ridge that runs from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula deep into Northern Wisconsin, where the mining company says there is enough iron ore to mine for years to come.
Funny how that is. The old ore dock has stood idle for 47 years, but now they want to mine the nearby Penokee and create all these wonderful economy healing jobs. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why is the ore that has been there for centuries all of a sudden valuable? How will polluting the water from such a mine and the subsequent damage to the Bad River Indian Reservation’s wild rice beds and fisheries, not to mention the general water pollution to the entire North Central Wisconsin and Eastern Upper Peninsula Michigan coast of Lake Superior, be worth the promise of a few jobs? Why is the worth that has been sitting there for all these years of value now?
|Log structures from the working docks of long ago stay preserved under the cold waters of the Great lake|
Why is what's under the topsoil suddenly more valuable than all these years before? Why are they tearing down the ore dock and promising new jobs and economic growth from an industry that has died long ago?
|Shadows playing amidst the old ore dock structure|
As one arm of government argues who is to pay to tear down or maintain a large unused ore dock, some of the Wisconsin House and Senate are fast-tracking a bill to allow a new mine to start operation. It just doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Still, these stacks of wooden bones make for some interesting photography illustrating the ravages of man. Is the price of polluting one of the last sources of fresh water on the earth worth the risk? It pains my heart to think about it.
|Asbestos laden waste tailings dumped into the Great Lake Superior at Reserve Mining's Silver Bay Plant|
Peace to all